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SJR-1 Slavery.(2001-2002)

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Senate Joint Resolution No. 1

Relative to slavery.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  July 19, 2001. ]


SJR 1, Murray. Slavery.
This measure would memorialize Congress to enact legislation similar to House Concurrent Resolution 356, which, among other things, would acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies, apologize to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for the wrongs committed against their ancestors who suffered as slaves, and urge the establishment of a national museum and memorial regarding slavery as it relates to the history of the United States, and other significant African-American history. The measure would also memorialize Congress to enact legislation similar to House Resolution 40, which would establish the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans.

WHEREAS, Approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and the 13 American colonies in the period 1619 through 1865; and
WHEREAS, Slavery was a grave injustice that caused and continues to cause African-Americans to suffer enormous damages and losses, both material and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity; and
WHEREAS, Slavery in the United States denied African-Americans the fruits of their own labor and was an immoral and inhumane deprivation of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, citizenship rights, and cultural heritage; and
WHEREAS, Although the achievements of African-Americans in overcoming the evils of slavery stand as a source of tremendous inspiration, the successes of slaves and their descendants do not overwrite the failure of the nation to grant all Americans their birthright of equality and the civil rights that safeguard freedom; and
WHEREAS, An apology is an important and necessary step in the process of racial reconciliation, because a sincere apology accompanied by an attempt at real restitution is an important healing interaction; and
WHEREAS, A genuine apology may restore damaged relationships, whether they are between two people or between groups of people; and
WHEREAS, African-American art, history, and culture reflect experiences of slavery and freedom, and continued struggles for full recognition of citizenship and treatment with human dignity, and there is inadequate presentation, preservation, and recognition of the contributions of African-Americans within American society; and
WHEREAS, There is a great need for building institutions and monuments to promote cultural understanding of African-American heritage and further enhance racial harmony; and
WHEREAS, A commission to study reparation proposals for African-Americans should be established; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature respectfully memorializes the United States Congress to enact legislation similar to House Concurrent Resolution 356, which was introduced on June 19, 2000, and House Resolution 40, which was introduced on January 6, 1999; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.